It was chilly that night. Cold wind whistled through the trees, dark clouds governed the skies yet Orion’s belt shone true and lightning streaks momentarily, electrified the atmosphere.
It was perfect timing for sleep and brilliant fantasizing, I could soar through time and rip through reason for the glorious thrills of reliving victories and conquests, no ancestors ever saw in times and places that never were but could have, should have been.
On this Most Magical of nights, I nobly shooed off tempting dreams of The Noble Knights of the Round Table and set out, alone in frigid dark to look for her.
I suppose I could have called in advance, decently asked if she’d meet me , set a time and subsequently agreed on where to meet…but what if I changed my mind? Besides, that would have been too formal, too close to a real date hence, too dangerous. It was wiser to do it casually, on the spur of the moment, make it seem like it was pure coincidence, that I just happened to be strolling around that time and wanted to inquire if she was also out…
I spotted her at a table in the garden that was enshrouded in shade and mostly bereft of light. It should have been impossible for me to recognize her but I did, anyway. I lessened my pace and rapidly dialled her number from memory :0-8-0-5…she picked at second ring, her soft, delicate voice trickled into my ear filled with friendly anticipation…”Yes, I’ll meet you.”, “Where are you?”, “Just outside the garden?!” “I’ll be there in a minute”. That minute felt like an hour! I ‘snail-paced’ up the side of garden so I could turn back around at the edge of the garden and walk towards her, when she came out. It’d be as if I was way down, but coming up the road when I called.
When she finally came out, I was near the entrance and she saw me immediately. I grinned, she smiled and came over. We decided on a walk but maybe all I wanted to get her friends out of sight: nothing personal (against them) but I had ‘work’ to do.
The concrete seat was at the left of the road, all we had to do was, cross the rainwater channel and..seat. I crossed first, turned and gallantly gave her my hand to help her. I think that’s how I started it. I offered her help she clearly didn’t need and she chose to play along. Even though the gutter was only 25cm wide, she looked at me and said she was afraid she’d fall. I smiled and whispered “I’m holding your hand. You’ll be fine.” She says “Noo.”. I’m like “Come on, just cross, it’s nothing”. I grip her small hand as firmly as I can without crushing it and she lets me pull her, gently across.
She’s giggling, I’m chuckling at our little display. I pray “God, I hope nobody saw us because that short drama might be hard to explain away to my best friend, her boyfriend”.
I sit at the right, she’s at my left in this shiny green dress that reflects the pale, blue moonlight & reminds me of when green was my favourite colour. I hate to use this, adjective but her dress was lovely.
We chat, joke, laugh…I think I tried to show her Orion’s belt gleaming in the sky but I’m not sure which was brightest that night, the twinkling stars, her brilliant dress or my reflection in her oval, inclined eyes. I was so mesmerised by her eyes that days after, I told her they were like Princess Jasmine’s in Aladdin. Other than trying to show her my favourite constellation, I honestly can’t recall what else I did/said but we were there for quite a while. We were happy, jolly and I was doing poorly at hiding my excitement. Heck! I still can’t help smiling whenever I think of us, that night.
Time froze that night! but eventually it melted and we had to go. She didn’t make a fuss crossing the gutter this time, but I smiled knowingly at her, anyway. As we walked back, up the road, our hearts surging with emotion, my brain restarted and initiated it’s fatal, analytical conclusion. I wistfully bid her farewell, “Good night(maybe I said great)…….see you soon…”
Alone now, on the way back, I began processing the facts: we’d had a fabulous time, she was radiant, I loved green all over again!…and then, the tougher truths I realized later: I walk a lonely path markedly different from hers, We live in different worlds with near opposite goals, I’m not swapping paths and I can’t invite her to mine : she’ll have to find it herself…and the lethal conclusion, my best friend was better for her than me.
We didn’t take any pictures but, who needs pictures when the memories glow like fire?! I know, I can’t ever forget how she looked in her green dress that night.
I like to think that if we’d been compatible, I would have had this civilised meeting with my friend where I’d have informed him of my affection for her and the official start of our competition. He knew I liked her but he didn’t know how much, how close I’d come to being his rival. I had a habit of informing him whenever I met her, but I never told him about that night.
Months later, at a particular counseling session, when they had quarreled and he asked his friends for help, my insightful advice revealed a deeply intimate knowledge of his girl and led a mutual friend to warn in Yoruba that “Bobo yi ma gba omo e o!”. I just smiled and laughed, I told them I wasn’t interested. I’d ‘signed out’ long ago so, she was all his.
I conditionally predicted a major breach in their relationship and I told my friend of my prediction. It came true months after but I’d drifted away from the both of them and the news of their break-up didn’t give me any joy. I wished they were together. I wished she didn’t leave him for a flimsy reason… they’re now friends, though. I just haven’t spoken to them in months. Maybe they’ll get back together if don’t I talk to them…yeah, right!
I liked to form ‘codenames’ for some of my friends (still do) and hers was, MBG standing for Most Beautiful…nah, My Best friend’s Girl. I selected ‘MBG’ from the start and it was most fitting at the end, when I withdrew.
She was very pretty. I think if she had been defiantly independent, staunchly refused to be objectified or ‘crowd mentalised’ (even though that is in vogue) and perfectly willing to carve her own path through life, I would have thought her beautiful. I would have re-enacted Troy to ‘win’ her, if need be. My friend wouldn’t stand a chance against my fiery fervour!
Dozens of months have passed and I can still dial her number with my eyes closed…